But if I am not a criminal, I beg to be permitted to go abroad with my wife temporarily, for at least one year, with the right to return as soon as it becomes possible in our country to serve great ideas in literature without cringing before little men, as soon as there is at least a partial change in the prevailing view concerning the role of the literary artist. (Letter To Stalin)
Do you believe that you will die? Yes, man is mortal, I am a man, ergo... No, that isn't what I mean. I know that you know that. What I'm asking is: Have you ever actually believed it, believe it completely, believe not with your mind but with your body, actually felt that one day the fingers now holding this very piece of paper will be yellow and icy...?
No matter how limited their powers of reason might have been. still they must have understood that living like that was just murder, a capital crime - except it was slow, day-by-day murder. The government (or humanity) could not permit capital punishment for one man, but they permitted the murder of millions a little at a time. To kill one man - that is, to subtract 50 years from the sum of all human lives - that was a crime; but to subtract from the sum of all human lives 50,000,000 years - that was not a crime! No, really, isn't it funny? This problem in moral math could be solved in half a minute by any ten-year-old Number today, but they couldn't solve it. All their Kant's together couldn't solve it (because it never occurred to one of their Kant's to construct a system of scientific ethics - that is, one based on subtraction, addition, division, and multiplication).
The sun's champagne streamed from one body into another. And there was a couple on the green silk of the grass, covered by a raspberry umbrella. Only their feet and a little bit of lace could be seen. In the magnificent universe beneath the raspberry umbrella, with closed eyes, they drank in the sparkling madness.'Extra! Extra! Zeppelins over the North Sea at 3 o'clock.'But under the umbrella, in the raspberry universe, they were immortal. What did it matter that in another far-away universe people would be killing each other?
Darkness. The door into the neighboring room is not quite shut. A strip of light stretches through the crack in the door across the ceiling. People are walking about by lamplight. Something has happened. The strip moves faster and faster and the dark walls move further and further apart, into infinity. This room is London and there are thousands of doors. The lamps dart about and the strips dart across the ceiling. And perhaps it is all delirium...Something had happened. The black sky above London burst into fragments: white triangles, squares and lines - the silent geometric delirium of searchlights. The blinded elephant buses rushed somewhere headlong with their lights extinguished. The distinct patter along the asphalt of belated couples, like a feverish pulse, died away. Everywhere doors slammed and lights were put out. And the city lay deserted, hollow, geometric, swept clean by a sudden plague: silent domes, pyramids, circles, arches, towers, battlements.